By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 18 September 2017:
Tripoli militia leader Haithem Tajouri has said that he will not allow any gathering to take place on 25 September in the city’s Martyrs’ Square in support of Baset Igtet.
In a statement yesterday saying it would destabilise the capital, he accused Igtet of being a “trickster” and exploiting people’s suffering for political ends.
A fortnight ago, businessman and would-be political leaders Igtet called on Libyans to demonstrate in support of him on 25 September, in particular in Martyrs’ Square. He also called for major economic reforms to rebuild the economy and the country. He furthermore expressed opposition to both Khalifa Hafter and Presidency Council (PC) head Faiez Serraj as well as outside interference, especially from Egypt and other Arab countries.
Since then backing for Igtet is reported to risen, and to have come from a number of Libyan figures and operations, all so far at the radical end of the political spectrum. Contested grand mufti Sadek Al-Ghariani, putative prime minister Khalifa Ghwell and Misrata’s Nuri Friwan Brigade are said to have expressed their support for him.
In his statement, Tajouri, who leads the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade, rejected Igtet’s plans as “cheap bait” saying that anyone who went to Martyrs’ Square next Monday would be viewed as intent on destablising the city. This, he said, would not be permitted.
Tripoli militia leader Hashem Bishr, who is now close to Serraj, has also expressed his opposition to the proposed demonstrations.
Tripoli Security Directorate (TSD), part of PC’s interior ministry had already warned that unauthorised demonstrations in Tripoli would not be allowed.
Rejecting the ban, a hand-writtten note from Igtet on his Facebook page today says that Tajouri will hear the “loud voices” of the people on 25 September in response, warning that they will be like a “typhoon”.
Tajouri’s and Bishr’s opposition have also drawn bitter criticism from Misratan member of the House of Representatives, Hanan Shalouf.
Noting that the protests were to be peaceful and describing the ban on the freedom to demonstate as as unacceptable and repressive, she said on Facebook that it showed that there was no working state in Libya.
She accused Serraj of being behind the ban.
It is not yet clear if Tajouri’s warning will stop people going to Martyrs’ Square next Monday or encourage them to do so, either out of curiosity or determination.